"HAVE you been handing around brown envelopes out there or something?" came the question from the lips under the greatest moustache I'd ever seen.
"Because I can't let you walk out that door again until you accept a job or Anna (Smith) will kill me."
The man was Terry Quinn, editor in chief of the Scottish Daily Record, offering me the chance of a job on what was Scotland's biggest selling national daily newspaper.
It was in his office at Anderston Quay, the massive building that dominated the skyline next to Glasgow's Kingston Bridge, where each day someone would put a sheet of A4 paper next to the juddering lifts proclaiming the previous day's sale (an 830,000 average).
I'd been shifting around papers for a few months when the Glasgow Evening Times offered me the role of Crime Reporter – a dream job at the time – on a handsome salary.
But after telling folk at the Record that I was off, a bunch of folk were despatched to talk me into staying put including Anna Smith – chief reporter – who was bending his ear about it.
I'd grown up on Mr Quinn's papers, weened on the Edinburgh Evening News when he was editor there where he pulled together a team which included the likes of Stephen Rafferty, Scott Douglas, David Thompson, Raymond Notarangelo and Peter Laing to name but a few.
All of them moved to work with him at the Record, and there was me being given a chance to join their team on Scotland's biggest paper aged just 23 years old. Bowled over by flattery and his dominant presence, a firm handshake sealed the deal.
He left the Record in 1998 to rejoin the Thomson clan, quitting Blighty to look after its US newspaper operations, finally moving again and setting up home in Queensland, to take charge of more than 100 papers in Australia and New Zealand as editor in chief of APN News and Media.
Included in his brief some 23 daily papers, and 90 monthly or weeklies spanning the two nations, a fair shift in anyone's eyes.
Which is why announcing his retirement aged 58, it will come as no surprise to those who know him best, that he has no immediate plans to return to rain lashed Scotland, or indeed the UK.
He said: "I've never had more than three weeks off in my entire working life, so I'm relishing the idea of endless free time to do whatever I want."
"The newspaper business has been a wonderful, exciting hobby, er, career."
And that's the one enduring memory I'll have from his tenure. As hard as you grafted, and regardless of what the detractors would say, his newspapers were always fun, which made working under him an absolute pleasure.